Beef Strog - my recipe
about 30mins prep time and 1 - 1 1/2 hours cooking time, oven at 160degC
Roughly 350-500gms of Beef - Blade or any cut suitable for stewing (I used approx 400gms)
A good handful of flour
Oil for browning - I use Olive but up to you
Couple of Garlic Cloves
1 Small Chilli or a small pinch of chilli powder OR you can leave it out (it's only for a little extra flavour not heat)
3 cups of Beef Stock - or 2 cups Beef Stock and 1 cup Water (I make my stock from 1 tsp beef stock powder to 1 cup of boiling water)
Mushrooms - as many as you desire
Sour Cream - Couple of good dollops (I used a little 125gm Pottle, it was quite rich but very yummy)
Heat a good few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan.
In a bowl mix the flour, a little salt and as much pepper as you prefer (I use a pepper grinder and so I grinded a fair amount into the mix) a good sprinkling of paprika and a couple of pinches of chives (I used dried).
Cube the beef to preference and in small batches flour some beef and then brown off in the pan. You don't want to burn them but you want to brown them a quite a bit, this sears the meat but also caramelises the natural sugars in the meat to enhance the flavour. Keep browning the meat in batches and put into a greased casserole dish.
Next add more oil as needed to the pan, and finely dice the onions, crush and chop the garlic, deseed and finely chop the chilli (easiest way to remove the seeds in the chilli is to slice it down the middle and with a teaspoon scrape along the flesh to remove the seeds) or add the chilli powder if using that instead. Gently fry off the onions, garlic and chilli in the pan stirring it around to pick up the flavours left my the meat.
When the mix is softened and starting to brown and caramelise add the leftover flour that you have in the bowl from flouring the meat. Mix this into the onions.
Slowly add 1 1/2cups of the beef stock bit by bit stirring constantly to make up a gravy. You must stir it constantly and add the stock slowly or it will create lumps in the flour you also want to keep it stirred to pick up the flavours from the pan..
When bubbling away and looking nice and thick pour this over the beef.
Clean and slice the mushrooms (I used about 2 good handfuls worth as we like mushrooms). To clean I take a knife and gently peel back the outer layer starting at the stalk where the skin tends to lift naturally, and pulling the pieces off down the top of the mushroom. Be careful not to take to much flesh away. You could also dampen a paper towel slightly and wipe the mushrooms over to remove the dirt. Add the mushrooms to the beef mix.
Pour over the remaining stock or stock and water mix and stir through gently.
Slow cook in the oven with the lid on at about 160degC for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Stir Once during cooking. When its finished cooking, remove it from the oven, stir through sour cream and taste it. If it needs more seasoning then add a little more salt and pepper. Keep tasting until its at your liking. I serve this pasta and fresh steamed vegetables. The broccoli is from our garden :)
A note to add here, is if you wanted to add some more veges to the mix you could add silverbeet or spinach. I just didn't have any silverbeet big enough in the garden as DH had raided it the night before for his meal he made. If adding these, in the last 10mins of the cooking time, take the the dish out of the oven and gently stir through some washed and finely sliced silverbeet or spinach and return to the oven to finish the time.
When browning meat, you do it in small batches only as you can see in the above photo. You want it on a reasonably high heat and don't put the meat into the pan until the oil is heated up. Try dropping a dot of flour into the oil and seeing if it bubbles around it or sizzles to see if its hot enough. If you put to many pieces of meat in the pan at once, you end up with a lot of the liquid from the meat coming out so it ends up stewing in the pan and not browning. If this happens don't stress. Either chalk it up to experience and continue on or take the meat out of the pan, drain off the liquid add some more oil and start again to brown the meat off . Caramelising which means getting it browned and having some colour on it, draws out the meats natural sugars and enhances the flavour in the dish. Don't forget to turn the pieces in the pan to cover all the sides of the meat.
I hope you enjoy this dish :)